He made partner at Goldman, Sachs & Company in December. The newspapers said he would soon be somewhere between $20 million and $200 million richer. Then, in February, David Dechman plunked down $6 million for a duplex penthouse at 525 Park Avenue, near East 61st Street.
Mr. Dechman, who is co-chief operating officer of the branch of Goldman that caters to its richest individual investors, had an increase in net worth of his own to anticipate when he started apartment-shopping late last year. That increase finally occurred on May 4, when the company’s initial public offering hit Wall Street. When the brand-new Goldman partner first saw the three-bedroom, three-bath condo on the top two floors of 525 Park, the price had been lowered from $8.25 million to $6.75 million. He submitted a low bid of $6 million and did not waver.
It seems the seller, who purchased the duplex in 1997 for $5.4 million, began an extensive renovation, then changed his mind about moving in. He had added sophisticated humidifying and cooling systems, refinished the floors and upgraded the kitchen. He expected to be able to make about $3 million in profit–minus the cost of his alterations–but Mr. Dechman’s deal for $6 million closed in February.
No. 525 lacks the prewar pedigree of neighboring buildings. It was a rental building until 1989, when it was converted into a condominium. Revlon Inc.’s chairman, Ron Perelman, famous for being rejected by co-op boards at 4 East 66th Street, 834 Fifth Avenue and 820 Fifth Avenue, rented an apartment there in the late 1980’s. Until it was converted, 525 Park was filled with two- and three-bedroom units; during conversion, four floors were added, creating three penthouses.
Mr. Dechman’s new home, the entire top two floors, is the building’s only duplex. It has a dining room, library, three bedrooms with bathrooms en suite; the upstairs is one huge room surrounded by 3,000 square feet of wraparound terraces. Mr. Dechman said the Goldman I.P.O. was not the motive for his purchase, but that he was relocating from Boston.
One broker familiar with the penthouse, said of the outcome, “Buying something at $5.4 million and selling it for $6 million is not a bad trade.”
DONHEWITT II: PRODUCER TAKES ANOTHER CHUNK OF MECOXBAYPENINSULA. Now that Don Hewitt has two 60 Minutes broadcasts, why shouldn’t the producer have two Bridgehampton waterfront homes?
In late spring, Mr. Hewitt, 76, and his wife, Marilyn Berger, purchased 1.2 acres of waterfront land on Pointe Mecox Lane next door to the 1.3 acre parcel–with a house and a swimming pool–they have owned since 1982. The additional land, which set Mr. Hewitt back $1.5 million, will allow the TV executive to dominate the secluded dead-end road’s most coveted spot: a peninsula looking south toward the Atlantic Ocean that’s surrounded on three sides by two separate bodies of water: Swan Creek to the west, and Mecox Bay to the south and east.
“It is the best lot,” said Judi Desiderio, a broker familiar with the property. She estimated that the price Mr. Hewitt paid was less than the value of the land. “I would have paid that.” Then again, the bare-looking house on the property–described by one broker as a “shanty”–certainly did nothing to help the seller’s cause.
Mr. Hewitt would not discuss his plans for any expansion into the new acre, maybe because of the ordeal he and his wife endured when they renovated their first Pointe Mecox Lane home.
In 1994, the couple hired the Bridgehampton-based Telemark Construction Inc. to make $650,000 worth of renovations: replacing the house’s roof, altering a shed, and adding 300 square feet of patio space around the pool. The Hewitts perceived the work to be shoddy, according to several newspaper reports. Primarily at issue was a kitchen which they claimed posed a fire hazard.
In 1995, Telemark filed suit with State Supreme Court in Suffolk County for $29,000 in payments that it claimed were withheld by the couple. Earlier this year, after years of wrangling–with accusations flying of media manipulation–the case was finally settled out of court.
UPPER EAST SIDE
50 East 89th Street
Three-bed, three-bath, 1,800-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $910,000. Selling: $872,500.
Charges: $2,108; 53 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
COUPLE SENDS FINANCIAL PLAN TO REWRITE. A couple of thirtysomething business school graduates with a baby on the way thought all they wanted was a two-bedroom apartment for $600,000. From their rental apartment on West 57th Street, their eyes got bigger. In their original price range, they looked at apartments with six-room layouts. Suddenly, space for the in-laws and entertaining became a requirement, and the ceiling on their price range was raised significantly. They ended up with an 1,800-square-foot co-op at 50 East 89th Street near Madison Avenue for $872,500. It’s farther uptown than the couple had originally wanted, but since the husband’s a runner, at least he doesn’t mind. And their child can go to the celebrated P.S. 6 on East 81st Street. Broker: Corcoran Group (Fran Davis; Sandy Shaw).
10 Gracie Square
Seven-bed, eight-bath, 7,000-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $7 million. Selling: just under $7 million.
Charges: $8,400; 41 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one month.
INVESTOR CLAIMS MELLON HEIRESS’ 7,000-SQUARE-FOOT HOME. For 40 years the home of Margaret Mellon Hitchcock, a Gulf Oil heiress and widowed mother of five, this 17-room apartment overlooking the East River at 83rd Street seems the ideal place to start a dynasty. In addition to the seven large bedrooms and eight full baths, the duplex on the fifth and sixth floors of the building boasts six maid’s rooms (and an additional three on a lower floor), a balcony, 10.5-foot and 11-foot ceilings, four fireplaces, a grand entranceway, and tons of prewar details, all still intact. Over the years, the building’s been home to folks like Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Gloria Vanderbilt. After Hitchcock died in 1998 at the age of 97, her estate put the sprawling apartment on the market. Once inside, a money manager had visions of greatness for his family. With four children under the age of 12 and a larger house in Purchase, N.Y., to retreat to on weekends, the Gracie Square dwelling seemed perfect. However, summer-only renovation rules apply, so it’ll be a year
before the family–who wants to gut-renovate–actually moves in. Broker: Ashforth Warburg Associates (Richard Steinberg).
300 East 74th Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,500-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $649,000. Selling: $620,000.
Charges: $1,265; 55 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three months.
THERE GOES $29,000 OF RETIREMENT. The buyers of this postwar co-op on 74th Street near Second Avenue–a couple with a young child–were more concerned about space than location. As far as price, they were able to capitalize on the anxiety of the retired accountant and his wife, who were selling the place to get out of New York. They
offered $649,000–even though it was $29,000 below the asking price–and the
retired couple headed north. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Eva Gellin).
45 Warren Street
Three-bed, 2.5-bath, 3,300-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.35 million. Selling: $1.275 million.
Charges: $839. Taxes: $1,056.
Time on the market: five months.
THEY FELL IN LOVE IN VEGAS, THEY SPENT $1.275 MILLION IN TRIBECA. Darren Orlando, a 30-year-old branch president of the Wall Street brokerage firm Mercer, Bokert, Buckman & Reid, was living in a small Battery Park City condo near the office when the whole thing started. Looking for a good time, he found a triplex on Duane Street, closer to TriBeCa, for $10,000 a month. But the Duane Street rental, priced at $2.5 million, sold to a previous renter before long. After moving back to Battery Park City, Mr. Orlando’s only consolation was that he met a woman while at a bachelor party in Las Vegas. “I was in a club, in the Hotel Rio,” he said, “and we met, and we kept in touch … She flew in a month later and spent five days in New York, and three months later, she was ready to live with me forever.” But not in a one-bedroom apartment in Battery Park City, apparently. Mr. Orlando–with his fiancée this time–was back out on the streets of TriBeCa, combing for a hipper place to start a family. They finally came across a 3,300-square-foot apartment on the fourth story of 45 Warren Street. “It was the best deal for the money,” he said. “Everything else was going for like 1.7, 1.8 million.” The wedding’s July 17; post-renovation, the happy couple will be ensconced by Aug. 1. At this bachelor party: be-have! Broker:
Douglas Elliman (Len Bromberg); Halstead Property Company (Susan Dougherty).
18 Monroe Place
Two-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,100-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $379,000. Selling: $352,000.
Charges: $866; 75 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: nine weeks.
QUEEN OF THE Q.&A. “She had all the right questions,” said broker Dava Grayson, of the woman who purchased this 1,100-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn Heights with her husband for $27,000 below the asking price. It helped that her mother is a real estate broker in the suburbs. Trotting in that engineer right off the bat didn’t hurt, either. The couple, who both work in Manhattan, had already spent a few months scoping out the neighborhood when they came across this co-op, in a brownstone between Pierrepont and Clark streets with four other tenants. The apartment is a duplex and has exposed brick walls and lots of sun. Based on the engineer’s report, the wife mulled over what the right offer might be. She even beat out another interested buyer with her $352,000 bid. Broker: Corcoran (Dava Grayson).